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The Three Best Fiber Optic Cleaning Tools

The choice of cleaning tools depends on the types of connectors to be cleaned and the accessibility of those connectors. QbE CCT Clear Connection Tools are the easiest to use and are capable of cleaning both unmated male connectors and recessed connectors.  That does not mean, however, that wipes and swabs no longer demand a place in an installer’s toolkit. QBE Cleaning Platforms remain the most effective method of cleaning unmated male connectors, and swabs remain the most effective method of cleaning connectors that remain in an alignment sleeve.  Regardless of which tool is chosen, always use the wet to dry method to ensure the best cleaning result.

The CCT Clear Connection Tool uses an automated wiping process to easily clean contamination from connection end faces. The tool is especially convenient when cleaning large quantities of end faces through bulkhead adapters. This cleaning method is easy to learn and enables the cleaning of multiple ports in a short period of time. CCT tools have an easy to use mechanism that advances fabric over a cleaning tip with just a short push and clicks of the tool. As with all fiber optic cleaning tools, it is most effective when used as a part of the combination cleaning method.             

To clean connectors inside of bulkhead adapters, remove the dust cap from the end of the CCT tool.  Lightly wet the CCT fabric tip with a Fiberwash pen, and then insert the CCT tip directly into the connector.  Push in the tool 2-3 clicks, advancing the fabric from wet-to-dry. The fabric rotates while advancing, adding additional cleaning action. Check your work with a fiberscope, OTDR, or other inspection instruments. Repeat on the next connector until all connectors have been cleaned. 

The end faces of unconnected patch cords can be cleaned by placing the dust cap back onto the end of the CCT tool and opening the end of the cap. The dust cap becomes an adapter that fits directly over the ferrule of the connector. Push the tool twice to advance the fabric and clean the end face. Again, adding a small amount of solvent to the fabric before each cleaning is recommended to maximize cleaning ability. Check your work with a fiberscope, OTDR, or other measurement instruments.

Choose the correct CCT tool to match the connector. 

  • CCT-250 is used to clean all 2.5mm connectors, including FS, SC, and ST.
  • CCT-125 is used to clean all 1.25 mm connections, including MU and LC.
  • CCT-MPO is used to clean MPO connections.

Patented QbE Cleaning Platforms are the best cleaning tool for unmated male connectors. QBE’s are a portable and durable package of lint-free wipes with an attached neoprene cleaning surface under the wipes, perfect for fiber end face cleaning. QBE’s provide a large cleaning surface ideal for the Combination Cleaning method.

To use the QBE:

  1. Pull a wiper up and out of the box and place the wipe over the foam platen on the side of the box. 
  2. Choose a solvent from the chart above to use in conjunction with the QbE. Select the correct solvent within the Fiberwash Cleaner Pen for a pen application and Electro-Wash PX for the aerosol packaging. Using solvent eliminates electrostatic charge that can be generated any time two dry surfaces are rubbed together. Use a Fiberwash pen or aerosol to place one inch (2.5 cm) dot of solvent at one corner of the platen. 
  3. Hold the end face perpendicular to the platen and glide the end face in a straight line over the wipe, pulling the end face in a long stroke from the spot of solvent to a dry area three times without retracing the same spot on the wipe.  (Hold the connector at the same angle as the end face for APC connectors).  Do not twist the end face or use a figure eight motion to clean, as these actions have the potential to damage the end face. 
  4. Check your work with a fiberscope, OTDR, or other inspection instruments.

The QBE is available in four configurations:

  • QbE:  The original QbE is a 3” x 3” x 3” cube with a flat platen and 200 wipes. It is ideal to clean any connector with an exposed end face.
  • QbE-2 is a 1.5” x 3” version of the QbE with a lanyard to attach the box to your belt. It does not have grooves in the platen.
  • pQbE, or “Pocket QbE” is the same size as the QbE-2, except with grooves in the platen to clean connectors with alignment pens that extend beyond the ferrule’s end face.

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